Kelly Harman
Sales, public relations

Kelly Harman

Vice president of sales at TriNET Systems in Herndon.

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Never give up

Q: What's the right response when you come tantalizingly close to success but fail to achieve your goal? How hard is it to recover from heartbreaking setbacks like the ones the Washington Redskins have endured in recent weeks? How often have you experienced reversals that tested your own spirit?

The right response is to refuse to give up. Yes, failure can be extremely heartbreaking. And when failure happens I think it is important to allow yourself time to mourn. Keeping your sorrow all stopped up inside serves no purpose other than to give you an early ulcer.

So take a few moments (or hours or days, depending on the size of the failure) to feel sorry for yourself, cry a little, and in general wallow around in your misery. Then be done with it and move forward. Figure out what you learned from the failure so you can put together a plan that makes your next attempt more achievable.

I was once denied a promotion that was rightfully mine. One I had worked toward for several years. I was told by the CEO that although I had the skills for the job and ,in fact, was actually doing the job, I could not be given the title because I didn't have the right educational "pedigree."

I was devastated. I think I cried for two days. I called a friend to tell him about my failure and he thought my husband had died because I was so upset. And after a few days of wallowing in my misery like a pig in mud I decided I better figure out Plan B. So I told the CEO I was quitting my job to start my own consulting company.

"You can't quit," he yelled, "I need you!"

"Well, you can hire my firm as your consultants," I replied as I walked out the door.

That is how my former employer became my first client. They remained a client for five years.

I don't know if I would have ever had the courage to quit my job if I'd gotten that promotion. It was probably one of the best things (in retrospect) that ever happened to my career. I spent seven years running my firm. During that time I had the privilege of working with well over 50 companies of every size. I learned far more than I would have ever been able to learn if I'd stuck with one job.

An expert once said of Vince Lombardi: "He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation." Lombardi would later write, "It's not whether you get knocked down; it's whether you get back up." At least the 'Skins are getting back up.

By Kelly Harman  |  December 11, 2009; 1:10 PM ET  | Category:  elusiveness Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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